Guide To Olympic National Park

AUTHOR: Connor Ursin with @nationalparktravelers

Mountains, ocean, and the rainforest—for most, visiting such different landscapes would mean three separate trips to different parts of the country. But that’s not the case with Olympic National Park.

Known for its diversity of landscapes—including snow-covered peaks, waterfalls, rainforests, and miles of coastline—this park has everything you could ask for. As one of the largest parks in the National Parks System, this road trip will require at least a few days to see as much as you can. 

Exploring this beautiful area with a GoCamp camper rental van is your best choice for getting the most out of your trip. Get inspired with our four-day itinerary that features exciting hiking trails, relaxing campgrounds, and unforgettable sights. And don’t forget your raincoat!

Day One

After you arrive at the Seattle airport, pick up your GoCamp camper van rental and head out to the Hurricane Ridge section of Olympic National Park. 

The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is a great starting point. Check out the exhibits before you head to the viewing area then make your way to the trail on Hurricane Ridge Road.

Foggy road leads to Olympic National Park

Don’t miss hiking Hurricane Hill. With 360-degree views, it’s an excellent introduction to the snowcapped peaks and stunning views you’ll come across throughout your trip.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.4 miles
  • Estimated hike time: 1:45

After your hike head to Sol Duc Campground to settle in for the night. Sol Duc offers 3 hot spring heated pools, perfect for relaxing after your first day of exploring. Campgrounds are reservable from March 25th to October 29th. 

Day Two 

Your second day in Olympic National Park will be action-packed! Whip up a hearty breakfast, pull on your hiking boots, and your camera fully charged for the gorgeous day ahead.

Mount Storm King is a grueling hike that gains 1,700 feet in elevation. Before you reach the summit, expect a sequence of switchbacks followed by a series of ropes that you’ll need to use to pull yourself up the mountain. Once you make it, take some extra time to enjoy the 360-degree views of Lake Crescent down below.

Image of a lake in Olympic National Park

Mount Storm King 

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Distance: 5.3 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 4 hours

While summiting Mount Storm King is a challenge, you can wrap up your day of hiking on shorter (but still rewarding) treks through Marymere and Madison Falls or around Fairholme Tree and Devil’s Punch Bowl.

Person in blue jacket in Olympic National Park, standing by Marymere Falls.

Marymere Falls

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.7 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 40 minutes

After you conquer Mount Storm King, be sure to add Marymere Falls on your way back. 

Enjoy lush greenery and beautiful waterways as you make your way down the trailhead. The trail is mostly flat but you will encounter a few switchbacks. Once you make it to the bottom, take a breather at the Lake Crescent Lodge for more views and a light lunch. 

Fairholme Tree covered in moss with person holding lantern gazing at its base.

Fairholme Tree 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 0.8 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 5 minutes 

This gigantic Big Leaf Maple tree is a must-see when you visit Olympic National Park. You can find it at the beginning of the Fairholme Campground Trailhead. The trail starts across from the campgrounds nestled next to the trail. This is a super easy walk filled with ferns, flowers, and other rich plant life.

Madison Falls

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 0.2 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 5 minutes 

Madison Falls featured one of the best waterfalls you’ll see in Olympic National Park. Plus, it’s one of the easier hikes you’ll take. The views are definitely worth the short hike!

A couple stands in front of Fairholme Tree in Olympic National Park. They are positioned next to a rented camper van.

Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 55 minutes 

Devil’s Punchbowl is a beautiful hike that takes you to Lake Crescent and some of the bluest water you’ll see in the park. After your hike, you can enjoy swimming and paddle boarding.

Once you’ve gotten your fill for this portion of Olympic State Park, make your way back to Sol Duc Campground to relax in the hot springs and rest up for another day of adventuring tomorrow.

If you want a change of scenery, you can also head to the city of Port Angeles for a recharge!

Day Three

Your third day will provide you with just how unique the landscape of Olympic National Park is. You can’t beat starting off with a beautiful waterfall and ending the day with a stunning sunset on the beach.

The Sol Duc Falls spill over rocks and logs

Sol Duc Falls

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.6 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 45 minutes 

This is one of Olympic National Park’s most popular features — and for good reason! Sol Duc Falls is a cascading waterfall that splits into 4 channels before it flows 48 feet into a narrow, rocky canyon. There are plenty of viewpoints surrounding the falls, as well as a bridge that crosses the river.

Photo of the Ancient Groves trail with moss and trees lining the path

Ancient Groves

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 0.5 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 15 minutes 

This hike will blow you away! Located right off the side of Highway 101, you’ll be swept away by the greens of the trees and moss along the trail. As you walk through, you’ll cross over a boardwalk that gives you views of the wetlands below.

Cape Flattery

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.2 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 35 minutes 

Located on Makah Tribal land, you’ll need a pass to access this scenic trail. You can purchase yours at the Makah Tribal Museum or Washburn’s grocery in Neah Bay on your way there.

Stunning views of Tatoosh Island await you at the end of this hike. Plus, you’ll come to the most northwestern part of the United States!

The Rialto Beach Hole in the Wall frames a rock on the coast of Washington

Rialto Beach to Hole in the Wall

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.3 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 1:30 minutes 

The famous Hole in the Wall is a must-see during your road trip through Olympic National Park. Tide pools, huge rock formations, and massive pieces of driftwood make for breathtaking views. And make sure to check the tide charts prior to your visit to Rialto beach — low tide is the best time to visit!

A large rock sits near the shore of the ocean in Washington

Ruby Beach 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Estimated hiking time: 25 minutes 

Ruby Beach is the perfect place to catch a sunset on your Olympic road trip. A short and easy hike will reward you with beautiful views of the setting sun over the ocean. 

After your beach time, finish off your day at the Hoh Rainforest Campground. This is a first come first served area during its off-season, with reservations required during peak times from June 6th through September 21st.

Day Four

On your last day road tripping through Olympic National Park, you’ll focus on its main attraction — the rainforests! As you wrap around the southern section of the park, you’ll make your way back to Seattle, where you started your trip.

A woman smiles while standing under trees covered in moss in the Hall of Mosses on the Spruce Nature Trail.

Spruce Nature Trail + Hall of Mosses

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 2.9 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 1:05 minutes

Get ready to enter another world as you walk amongst the rainforest of Olympic National Park. With green as far as your eyes can see, this relaxing hike will take you on a series of loops through the lush forest. 

A woman stands with arms stretch wide on Kalaloch Beach's "Tree of Life".

Kalaloch Beach 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 0.2 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 10 minutes

The main viewing point at Kalaloch Beach is “The Tree of Life.” This huge tree hangs onto a cliff by its roots as the earth beneath it erodes over time. Definitely go see this — it won’t be here forever. 

Mossy trees stand tall in the Quinault Rainforest.

Quinault Rainforest 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 0.9 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 30 minutes

Quinalt Rainforest is one of the overlooked and less-crowded rainforests in Olympic National Park. While it may not be as popular as the Hoh, there’s no lack of beauty and solitude to be found here. 

Trees line the Maple Glade Nature Trail.

Maple Glade Nature Trail 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 0.5 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 10 minutes

Luscious green moss drapes down from every branch as you walk along this short loop. If you want to extend the hike, head to the Kestner Homestead. This has stood since the 1800s, and features relics from the past.

Staircase Rapid Loop

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 2.1 miles
  • Estimated hiking time: 50 minutes

Make your last hike through one of the most underrated trails in the park, Staircase Rapid Loop. This trail takes you on a walk along the North Fork of the Skokomish River. Take in views of the rushing rapids and enjoy a beautiful bridge crossing. 

Dry Off Scenery in Death Valley National Park

After navigating the wildly diverse and lush landscape of Olympic National Park, you might be ready for a warm, dry change of scenery. 

Gear up for another amazing road trip through one of the most unique and memorable spots in the National Parks System: Death Valley National Park. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another world with its colorful canyons, sand dunes, and salt flats. 

Death Valley takes some preparation to make sure you stay comfortable while taking in the sights, especially as we head into summer.

Learn what you need to know before you go to Death Valley National Park >